Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for spring 2019 commencement.
Linzy Jane Voytoski had no hesitation about studying engineering at Arizona State University. She wanted to carry on the legacy of her “family of engineers” — especially a grandfather who graduated from ASU with a degree in electrical engineering more than 50 years ago.
Her initial selection of a focus area within the field wasn’t made with absolute certainty, and after three semesters as a software engineering major she decided it wasn’t a good fit.
Fortunately, in exploring alternatives, Voytoski said, “I realized I could turn my favorite hobby into a career.”
But the way she describes that hobby makes it clear it’s much more to her than a simple pastime.
“I have been drawn to the outdoors since I was a kid. Greenery makes me feel at peace inside,” she said. “So, it made sense for me to pursue a career that seeks to preserve and protect the environment.”
Her grades earned her a place on the Fulton Schools dean’s list throughout her undergraduate years, while she used what she was learning to contribute to the Environmental and Resource Management student club at ASU.
Voytoski got valuable experience outside the classroom as a student lab assistant with ASU’s Arizona Center for Algae Technology and Innovation, which uses algae technology to produce renewable energy, food and other sustainable systems and products.
She also worked as an assistant industrial hygienist for ASU Environmental Health and Safety operations and as an assistant at the Student Union on ASU’s Polytechnic campus.
Even after finding a major that aligned with her passion for preserving the environment, Voytoski was challenged by some tough classes and rough semesters.
“There were a few times when I was struggling in classes and really wondered if I had it in me to be an engineer,” she said. “I’m glad that I stuck it out in those moments because I have never been more confident in my ability to be a successful female environmental engineer.”
She says Fulton Schools Associate Professor Kiril Hristovski was the most influential of the teachers who helped her achieve that self-assurance.
“He changed my entire perspective on my education,” Voytoski said. “He cares about his students individually and measures success based on how much we have learned and improved, rather than focusing on low points of the learning curve.”
Now, Voytoski has her sights set on “taking the knowledge I have of the environment and what I know about making effective and lasting changes in the world and applying it to my community here in Arizona.”
Her foremost career aspiration is “to preserve the Arizona desert and highland landscape for many generations to come,” she said. “I want my nieces and nephews and their children and their children’s children to be able to cherish the outdoors in the same way I did when I was a kid.”
Hometown: Mesa, Arizona
Performer: Bishop Briggs.
Movie: "Across the Universe."
TV show: "Eureka."
Book: "House of Leaves" by Mark Z. Danielewski.